By Seamus Hayes
Tipperary 2-24 Clare 2-17
Thirty six years without a National league title, Clare will have to wait at least one more having suffered a seven point loss to Tipperary in this semi-final tie played at the Gaelic grounds on Sunday before an attendance of 20,452.
The All-Ireland champions can have few complaints as they failed to match the hunger and sharpness of their opponents who will now play Kilkenny in a repeat of last year’s final.
Tipperary played with the aid of the breeze in the first half and were seven points ahead, 1-14 to 1-7, when the half time whistle sounded. The Clare men led for the only time in this tie in the fourth minute when Cathal McInerney scored their goal which put them 1-1 to 0-3 in front. Midway through the half Patrick Maher broke through the middle to fire home Tipperary’s goal.
Clare had a great start to the second half, hitting 1-1 in the opening four minutes, the goal coming from team captain Pat Donnellan. This closed the gap to three points but the premier outfit hit back for a second goal from Patrick Maher four minutes later.
Clare closed the gap to three points again with thirteen minutes remaining but, try as they did, they failed to get any closer and the winners finished strongly, outscoring Clare 0-5 to 0-1 in the closing five minutes to seal their final date.
Clare travel to Portugal this week for a five day training camp as all of their attention now turns to the championship and their Munster semi-final date with either Cork or Waterford in mid June.
Tipperary; Darragh Gleeson; Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Michael Cahill; James Barry (0-1), Brendan Maher, Conor O’Mahoney; Kieran Bergin, James Woodlock (0-1); Denis Maher (0-1). Patrick Maher (2-0) John O’Dwyer (0-2); Noel McGrath (0-1), Seamus Callanan (0-12), Niall O’Meara (0-3);
Subs—Gearoid Ryan (0-1) for D. Maher; Shane McGrath for N. McGrath; Shane Bourke (0-2) for O’Dwyer; Michael Breen for Woodlock
Clare—Donal Tuohy; David McInerney (0-1) Cian Dillon, Jack Browne; Brendan Bugler, Conor Ryan; Patrick O’Connor; Patrick Donnellan (1-1), Colm Galvin (0-2); John Conlon (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-2), Colin Ryan (0-5); Cathal McInerney (1-1); Conor McGrath (0-2), Podge Collins (0-2);
Subs—Peter Duggan for C. McInerney; Sean Collins for Galvin; Aaron Cunningham for Conlon; ;
Referee—Colm Lyons, Cork